Katie's Reviews > If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley
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's review
Jul 26, 2012

it was amazing
Read from July 06 to 26, 2012

A thoroughly enjoyable culture history of the evolution of the house. Not just the individual rooms are discussed, but also items within those rooms and activities that took place in them. Even the driest of topics, such as the evolution of the oven, are brought to life and discussed in a familiar and engaging manner. Humor is a theme of the book as well; as an American with an unshakable fondness for toilet humor I found the section on the history of the bathroom particularly funny, such as the uncanny coincidence that one Mr. Crapper became the most well known toilet salesman in Britain (where "crap" didn't have the same meaning as it does here) and the reaction of American GIs after the first World War to Mr. Crapper's particular method of branding. Another unexpectedly funny and enlightening section was on the history of masturbation - or rather the history of how English culture viewed masturbation. Each section begins in the middle ages and strolls through history, most ending with a brief discussion of 20th Century changes that we take for granted today. For example, the homey smells of the kitchen were considered unhealthy and unappealing for most of history, and great lengths were gone to to keep the odors out of a house.

Granted, I am a cultural historian by profession, but I think just about anyone would enjoy this book.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Sucia (new) - added it

Sucia ooo - this book looks good! How did it read? More like little vignettes or like a history text?

Katie Kind of a perfect combination of the two - I highly recommend it!

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